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Ambassador: Germany Stops New Financing, Pulls out from Drills, Keeps Student Visas

On July 10, the German Ambassador to Georgia, Peter Fischer, reported that Germany has decided to stop any new financial commitments to Georgia, has halted its military’s participation in the Noble Partner exercise previously canceled by the U.S., and canceled an important legal conference due to the recent anti-Western decisions of the Georgian Dream. He also confirmed the EU’s decision to halt Georgia’s accession and called on Georgians to rethink what the EU means to them.

Speaking to journalists before the conference “EU Enlargement – Geopolitical Needs and Further Steps for EU Candidate Countries”, the Ambassador underlined Georgia’s place on the EU accession path, stating: “Because of the course of action of the Georgian Dream government the European Council, which are the 27 heads of state and government, the people that decide on enlargement… have decided on 27th of June, that accession process of Georgia has come to a halt, that is now European Union policy. And that is very sad, because it could be very different, we could be advancing very quickly. We would like to advance, but the speed and the quality of the accession process are in the hands of the accession candidate.”

He further noted that the German approach to Georgia has also changed: “We are also reviewing across the board our relationship with Georgia… We have decided not to enter into any new commitments with Georgia at this time, so no new financial commitments to Georgia from Germany at this time. The German military has also canceled its participation in the exercise Noble Partner. We have canceled a big legal forum that took place in Tbilisi last year and it was due to take place in Berlin in the summer… and we are reviewing further actions.”

Ambassador Fischer emphasized how regretful is it that Georgia’s relations with Germany and the EU have steeped so low and appealed to the Georgian people, stating: “We would like you to join the EU, you are very welcome to join the EU, but you know the process, you have to meet our standard, and if you don’t – then you can’t join. So, Georgian citizens and Georgian friends should really think about how important is the EU to yourselves, to you children, to your grandchildren. If you want it, you have to get on course.”

The journalists pointed out to the Ambassador that the Georgian Dream government is minimizing the importance of the EU’s decision to stop Georgia’s accession process, saying that it was made on a “micro level”, to which the Ambassador replied that he calls on the Georgian people to read the EU treaties, the Copenhagen criteria, the Commission’s evaluations on Georgia’s progress and the European Council’s decisions, and by reading all this they can understand how important the Council’s decision was. He underlined that the Council members are the political leaders of the EU and the decisions taken at their level are the “highest level”.

One of the pro-governmental channel’s journalists asked the Ambassador why the conference he was attending was held in closed doors, when in the country there is a problem with “transparency of NGOs”. He answered: “I’m not organizing the conference; I can’t really speak for the conference organizers. Sometimes, the idea of a meeting is to speak very openly and try to move things forward. I’m sure, if you ask individual conference participants, they’ll be happy to speak to you about the conference, like I’m happy to speak to you about the conference. This is not a secret conference, it’s just a meeting of experts, not a public conference. Not every meeting has to be public.”

Lastly, he was asked if the rumors of Germany stopping visas for Georgian students were true, to which the Ambassador answered: “No, that information is not correct, no.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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